My husband had a sore throat for a few days. He was told that it could last up to six weeks. He also had a problem talking the first day, but not much after that.
He is very happy with his fusion except that when he bends down, he can't breath. That is from the scar tissue.
As for swallowing, there will be some swelling. If it is from the swelling from surgery, then it will go away. If it is scar tissue, then that is bad.
We did a lot of research and talked to a lot of people before the surgery and all of them came out okay and were happy with the results.
Surgery is an individual decision. I will say that all of the specialists told us that it is way better than lower back surgery.
Hope that you find some peace and comfort in all of this